Google Details Chrome OS

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Google took the time yesterday to show off its upcoming entry to the operating system stakes, Chrome OS, and from what we’ve seen so far it looks to be very interesting indeed.

Google’s open source OS has always been talked about in terms of approaching the OS from a different direction than existing products like Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s Mac OS X, and while it’s based on Linux, it seems that Chrome OS will be quite different from Linux as we know it. According to the BBC, Google has confirmed that Chrome OS is on schedule for a 2010 release and revealed some very interesting details indeed about the OS itself.

Google’s Sundar Pichai said of Chrome that, “We are trying to offer a choice for users … This model of computing is fundamentally different.” It’s interesting to see how Chrome OS works; many had expected for Chrome to be something of an entirely browser-style experience, and certainly Google has placed more of an emphasis on the browser, but there are those who’ll be very pleased to hear that it’s not all a browser experience.

From the beginning of their demonstration, Google talks about how Chrome OS uses the browser, allowing users to open “application tabs” within the browser itself. It then goes on to talk about the way some applications will need their own windows, and that those will be available via the Chrome menu, which is placed similarly to Mac OS’s “Apple” menu.

Many of those applications open in windows similar to those users will already be familiar with from the version of Google Talk integrated with Gmail. There are options to shove these tabs out of the way, making a sidebar that won’t cover your browser pane, so it seems as though they won’t be getting in the way.

Moreover, for organisation’s sake, Google’s new OS seems to feature something a little like Mac OS’s much touted Exposé, which simply displays all of the active windows at the moment to allow for faster application switching.

Certainly this will be enough to whet the appetites of most interested in Google’s effort to enter the OS market, and it lines up well with that most people use devices like netbooks (for which Google has long been angling Chrome OS) for. Of course, with Intel now pushing a bit more towards performance and even games built for its Atom processor (which most netbooks now use), it seems as though Chrome OS could well end up being something of a business install.

You can read more about Google’s upcoming OS over at the BBC, where they were lucky enough to actually go to the event and have a look at what Google is doing directly.

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